The Eras of Ancient Greece

There are several iconic eras in Ancient Greece. When we think of Ancient Greece, we often only have one image of what life was like. We imagine booming city-states, strong military forces, thriving culture, bustling markets, etc… But this is only one side of Ancient Greece! Here is some important history about the other eras of Ancient Greece.

The Minoan Era took place on the island of Crete with its large civilization. The capital of Crete at this time was called Knossos. This was a long lasting civilization. It was so successful because of a strong navy and trade. Because Crete was an island, it makes sense that they would develop a skilled naval force in order to best protect themselves from any military attacks via the sea. Being on the sea also meant that they had lots of opportunities for trade with other places. In the Minoan Era, there was a written language called “Linear A.” The written characters in Linear A look like pictures, rather than letters. The Minoan Era’s strong navy, trading, and written language show that these people were intelligent and very well developed as a society

The Mycenaean Era took place on mainland Greece. The people of this time and place spoke Greek. It’s important to note this, because in Ancient Greece, there were many dialects of Greece spoken throughout the mainland and islands. Mycenaeans lived mainly in the city of Mycenae. The population here was about 30,000. There were also other Mycenaean cities which developed into separate city-states. These city-states became very important and had a lot of influence in Ancient Greece. Two of the major cities which became city-states were Thebes and Athens.

When you hear the name “The Dark Ages,” you might be thinking about a similarly named time in Europe. However, this is an entirely different time! The Dark Ages of Ancient Greece were much earlier. This was when Greece suffered attacks from invaders and natural disasters. These were responsible for a 300 year struggle against famine, decreasing population, and famine. Greeks at this time were facing a serious decline in their chances of survival. Because of these 300 years of difficulty, this era is called the Dark Ages.

The Archaic Era saw an upturn in quality of life and culture in Greece. This period is also known as classical Greece, and the Golden Age. This is the Greece which is often popularized in films and literature today. The Archaic Era saw the growth and flourishing of Greek culture in the city states.